FAMM to host virtual screening of The Vanishing Trial, a documentary about the trial penalty this weekend

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FAMM to host virtual screening of The Vanishing Trial, a documentary about the trial penalty
A panel discussion featuring Lt. Governor John Fetterman will follow on Monday

WASHINGTON – FAMM is hosting a virtual screening and panel discussion of their new documentary “The Vanishing Trial” which takes a deep dive into the trial penalty in America. The film will be available for a limited time to the general public — from Friday, June 12 at 5 p.m. through Monday, June 15 at 5 p.m. Register to view the film here.

“One of the most important rights we have as Americans – the right to a trial – is disappearing before our eyes,” said Kevin Ring, president of FAMM. “We want to believe that people are punished based on the severity of their crime and the harm they caused. That’s no longer true. Today the harshest sentences are imposed on those who simply exercise their right to go to trial.”

The screening will be followed by a virtual panel discussion on Monday, July 13 at 7 p.m. moderated by Joshua Vaughn of the Appeal, and featuring Penn. Lt. Governor John Fetterman, attorney Wana Saadzoi of PACDL and Rochelle Horton, sister of Dennis and Lee Horton, who were both sentenced to life without parole at trial after rejecting a much lower plea offer.

“The Vanishing Trial” focuses on four individuals who were forced to make that excruciating choice between pleading guilty or going to trial. Each was threatened with a “trial penalty,” the term used to describe the substantially longer prison sentence a person receives if they exercise their constitutional right to trial instead of pleading guilty. The documentary reveals how the trial penalty has led to the shocking disappearance of one of the most fundamental individual rights and the explosion in America’s prison population.

Throughout the film, we hear the perspectives of national experts, including former federal judges and prosecutors, criminal defense lawyers, constitutional law experts, and criminal justice reform advocates.

“The Vanishing Trial” was produced by FAMM producer/director Wynette Yao and cinematographer/editor Travis Edwards. Yao is an Emmy-nominated producer/director who has worked for National Geographic, Discovery and other major networks. Edwards is an award-winning cinematographer/editor who has worked on a wide range of documentaries and features.

In order to watch the film, you must register here. Upon registration you’ll receive an email confirmation with a link and password to view the film. The link will be active starting Friday, July 10 at 5 p.m. until Monday, July 13 at 5 p.m. The panel will be streamed via Facebook Live on FAMM’s Facebook page on Monday, July 13 at 7 p.m.


FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.